Skip to main content

Full text of "The Letters Of Horace Walpole Vol I"

See other formats


JLO   JMlVrtUiTUi     YY C30                                   6(
Venus's toilette, and some at the Sucking Cat. You would not easily guess their notions of honour: I'll tell you one : it is very dishonourable for any gentleman not to be in the army, or in the king's service as they call it, and it is no dishonour to keep public gaming-houses: there are at least an hundred and fifty people of the first quality in Paris who live by it. You may go into their houses at all hours of the night, and find hazard, pharaoh, &c. The men who keep the hazard-table at the Duke de Gesvres'4 pay him twelve guineas each night for the privilege. Even the princesses of the blood are dirty enough to have shares in the banks kept at their houses. We have seen two or three of them ; but they are not young, nor remarkable but for wearing their red of a deeper dye than other women, though all use it extravagantly.
The weather is still so bad, that we have not made any excursions to see Versailles and the environs, not even walked in the Tuileries; but we have seen almost everything else that is worth seeing in Paris, though that is very considerable. They beat us vastly in buildings, both in number and magnificence. The tombs of Richelieu and Mazarin at the Sorbonne and the College de Quatre NationsB are wonderfully fine, especially the former. We have seen very little of the people themselves, who are not inclined to be propitious to strangers, especially if they do not play and speak the language readily. There are many English here : Lord Holderness6, Conway and Clinton7, and Lord George
4 D'Argenson in his Mfmoirea •writes (under date of March, 1739) in reference to these public gaminghouses : ' On compte plus de trois cents de ces maisons dans Paris, ou 1'on joue an biribi et an pharaon; tous lea jeunes gens s'y mvnent. Les jeux de I'h6tel de Soissons et de I'h6tel de Q-esvres sont causes de ces desordres. On ne sauroit roprendre aucun jeu particulier qu'on ne votts
cite aussitfit oes deux academies.'
6  Now the Palais de 1'Institut.
e Robert Darcy(1718-1778), fourth Earl of Holdernesse; Ambassador at Venice, 1744-46; Minister at the Hague, 1749-51; Secretary of State, 1761-61; Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, 1765 ; Governor to the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV), 1771-76.
7  Hugh    Fortescue    (1696-1751),